Wednesday, 3 December 2008

4ed Campaign -- Session 11 -- 22nd November 2008

In which a grievous misjudgement is uncovered, an ancient curse is finally lifted, and the gates to the true horror of Shadowfell Keep swing wide.
Elumai - Eladrin Wizard 2
Berend - Dwarven Fighter 2
Corrash - Dragonborn Warlock (Fey-Pact) 2
Romto - Halfling Cleric (of Pelor) 2
Mord - Dwarven Fighter 2

In the aftermath of the scuffle for Valthrun's old equipment, Mord takes a little time to examine the three tomes he recovered from the scene. One of the books is old and of wide girth, but curiously devoid of content; another deals with the legal process involved in the crimes of a human called Erogian Dean, who seemed to be involved in some kind of scandal at a place called Arranea many years earlier; and the third, aside from a sequence of unintelligible equations and diagrams, has an awful lot to say about a wizard called Tenser. Elumai later identifies this as a ritual book, although disappointingly she has already mastered it.

Later that morning, the group accosts Eilian in his fields. After having learned a little about his drinking and night-terrors, they try to persuade him to accompany them to the Keep so that he may pass judgement on Sir Keegan. He is understandably reluctant, but the deft psychoanalytical ministrations of Elumai and Corrash -- along with a well-timed bottle of the good stuff from Mord -- gradually bring him around to their way of thinking... which was probably for the best, with Berend rapidly losing patience in the background. After a tearful goodbye from Eilian's wife, Goodrun, the party sets off for the Keep.

The journey, aside from one sleepwalking episode from Eilian, is uneventful, and the adventurers recover themselves to Sir Keegan's tomb without incident. The dark entities which toyed with the party during their previous visit are once more in attendance, this time patient and still in one corner of the room, silent observers on the proceedings.

The old knight creaks to his feet, and seems to recognise Eilian, calling him 'Vigo' more than once. Eilian musters whatever courage he can in the face of an abomination the likes of which he has never seen, and offers to dispense judgement on Keegan, who accepts, and begins to recount his sorry tale much as he had to the characters a few days beforehand.

Eilian is gradually numbed by what he hears, and has no choice but to deny his forgiveness. Keegan's demeanour changes quickly to one of bitter contempt. He brings his sword up and steps towards Eilian, revealing that it is not judgement he craves, but his soul, and the dreadful truth suddenly sinks in: the party have been used, manipulated by Keegan into delivering the last surviving member of his family so that he may claim the one soul he failed to collect all those years ago.

The company, anticipating trouble, steps in to protect the old farmer, but Keegan is too fast. What would surely have been a killing blow, however, is thwarted by the two black shadows -- now revealed as the damned souls of his two young daughters -- who surge forward and attack the cursed remains of their father. Keegan is diverted for a few precious seconds, allowing the adventurers to drag Eilian -- catatonic with fear -- off to one side, all the while bringing their weapons to bear on the knight. Soon, and with pitiless fury, Keegan destroys what is left of his daughters, damning them, no doubt, to eternal servitude under a demon's wing, and turns his attention back to his only remaining blood relative.

Although he is effectively walled in by the party's defenders, Keegan's fury will not be stopped. He forces his way through the defense to get to his victim, and strikes him down. Eilian collapses to the floor, barely clinging to life, but before the knight can finish the job, he finds himself battered away by well-placed attacks from the adventurers, giving Romtoe the room he needs to pull Eilian away from death's door.

From this point, the fight becomes a carefully choreographed dance where the party uses every trick in the book to keep the fallen knight away from Eilian, all the while pummeling the undead with everything they have. Not for nothing did destiny intertwine their fate with that of the knight's, and they at last succeed in destroying him, leaving Eilian unconscious, but alive.

Keegan's magical longsword, Aecris is retrieved and handed to Elumai for safe-keeping, but the party is disappointed to find little else of value to them, aside from a few pieces of jewelry which they presume to be memento's of the cursed House of Keegan. Fearing that his defeat will only weaken the wards protecting the lower levels for a short while, they have no choice but to scoop up Eilian's unconscious form, and proceed to the gateway.

They find it pale and weakened, and are able to pass through without harm or hindrance. Beyond, an earthen tunnel uncoils deep underground, its walls stained an ever-richer shade of red as they descend. Following it, they pass by a room in which a strange, amorphous threat lurks beneath the surface of a dark pool, but choose not to engage, pushing on into what looks like an underground temple complex. Taking the southern exit from the next room, they enter a square chamber replete with simple traps - metal statues that attack those who come within reach, dragon-headed plinths that belch fire - but the hazards are old and decrepit, easy to destroy or bypass.

The next room, however, is not so simple. A red-bricked, conical chamber, its walls lined with the signs of old burning, stands in their way. Impaled on the walls are several corpses in various states of decomposition, and a ring of ghoulish figures walking in circles in something like a trance near the center of the room. Trickling down the walls and across the floor sre several rivulets of glistening blood; it twists and pulsates with an unnatural life of its own, collecting in small pools before flowing down a stairwell to the east and god-knows where beyond. As the adventurers stand assessing the scene, the zombies gradually come to their senses...


Wedge said...

A really fun session, where a lot of the groundwork put down (more or less successfully) in previous sessions came to a head. I think the revelation about Keegan's true motives came as a genuine surprise to the group, although they were anticipating toruble of *some* description, and the fight itself was a really tense affair, with a very fragile commoner caught up in the middle of a dangerous tug of war. It was close, but they pulled it off. Although the adventure wouldn't have come to a grinding halt if poor old Eilian had been killed, I think the PC's can sleep a bit better knowing that they saved an innocent from a gruesome fate. Bravo!

Looking forward to the next Solo I can bring to bear.

After that, things were pretty conventional. I ran the KotS trap room exactly as written -- something I haven't been doing with most of the rest of the adventure -- and immediately regretted it, as it became quickly obvious how ineffective and predictable the three traps were. Still, a quick wave of the hand and the party were poised at the end of the session for another gritty scrap with a bunch of undead.

Benmoule said...

i should have listened to my inner Berend.
Life is, after all, a case of Wisdom Vs Will.